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James Boyd
IU Maurer School of Law

Amb. Feisal Istrabadi
Visiting Professor of Law

Jeffrey Isaac
Indiana Democracy Consortium

Last modified: Thursday, November 12, 2009

Scholars, practitioners to consider state-building in Afghanistan, Iraq

Nov. 12, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Top scholars on Afghanistan and Iraq will meet on the Indiana University Bloomington campus Friday and Saturday (Nov. 13-14) for one of the first collaborative conferences on state-building in both nations.

"State-Building in the Contemporary Islamic World: U.S. Intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan" is being presented by the Indiana Democracy Consortium. The two-day event is being held in the Indiana Memorial Union's State Room East and is open to both the public and the media.

Feisal Istrabadi

Amb. Feisal Istrabadi

Print-Quality Photo

"We have some of the world's leading experts on Afghanistan and Iraq participating in this conference," said Feisal Amin Rasoul al-Istrabadi, the former Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations, visiting professor of law at the IU Maurer School of Law, and the principal drafter of the interim Iraqi constitution. "We want to see if there are common threads in the experiences of state-building, post-U.S. intervention, in both countries. These are not two parallel conferences. The goal is to engage the two communities of experts in a conversation to bridge the efforts of both countries, and where they are headed."

Five panels will meet over the course of the conference, covering constitutional design, electoral systems, economic reconstruction and development, conflict resolution and policy recommendations. Papers presented by panelists will be collected to produce an edited volume after the conference.

With allegations of fraud in Afghanistan's recent presidential election and Iraqis scheduled to vote in a parliamentary election in January 2010, the conference provides a timely focus on the future of both nations, said Jeffrey Isaac, Rudy Professor and director of the Indiana Democracy Consortium.

"The conference will deal with some of the underlying challenges of state-building and nation-building facing many post-conflict societies throughout the world, with a focus on the specific challenges confronting Iraq and Afghanistan, two areas of great importance for U.S. foreign policy," Isaac said. "This will bring together IU experts, with a range of scholarly and policy experts, to talk about challenges and solutions."

Participants expected to attend include the co-founder of the Afghanistan Advocacy Group, the director of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Australian National University, and the chair of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. A full list of participants and a schedule of events is available on the conference's Web site.

The conference is being sponsored by the McCormick Foundation of Chicago. IU faculty organizers, in addition to Istrabadi and Isaac, are Nazif Shahrani of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures and Abdulkader Sinno of the Department of Political Science.